Valley, by Mairi Timoney
Valley, by Mairi Timoney

Pair of exhibitions on show at Fine Art Society

The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh is hosting two showcases of work throughout the month of May.

John McLean, who was 80 earlier this year, is having a celebratory show at The Fine Art Society for the seventh time with an exhibition of new work. Behind the Mirror is a group of 15 large scale paintings have been painted over the last two to three years.

Born in 1939, multi-award winning artist John McLean has enjoyed a long career as a highly respected painter of sophisticated abstraction, exhibiting widely with over 40 solo exhibitions worldwide.

His work is represented in many public collections including Glasgow Museums and Galleries; The Hunterian Collection; The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; The Scottish National Portrait Gallery; and the Tate Gallery, London.

Recognised for his colourful, rhythmic style and large scale of his canvases, his work is characterised by the use of simple shapes and bold colour. His paintings depend, for their coherence, on internal relationships and the visible interaction of shapes and colours: static in fact, but dynamic in effect. Colour, texture, tone, transparency, the patterns of the brush, all create a set of active relationships. They lead the eye in and out, suggest visual priorities, one thing moving in front of another and the other pushing back.

The work in this show has been produced in the face of considerable adversity. John was diagnosed with MSA/P – a  neurological disease with some symptoms similar to Parkinson’s – but continues to visit his studio twice a week and has produced a remarkable body of work.

He said: ‘I do as much painting now in two days as I did in a week when I could work full-time, which amazes me. I think there’s an urgency to my work, driven by how much time I have left.’

Richard Morphet, who was Keeper of the Modern Collection at the Tate, added: ‘As his physical life has become more restricted his imaginative life seems to be getting more and more adventurous. He’s creating very interesting juxtapositions of form and new ideas. He’s in stark, new territory but it’s also very rich.’

Valley, by Mairi Timoney

Also on show is Recollect, an exhibition of mixed media works on board by Mairi Timoney (b.1991). The 10 works, incorporating painting and collage, translate the artist’s memories into fragmented geometric patterns and evocative palettes. Timoney employs juxtapositions of surface, space, pattern and colour to recreate the transcience of recollections and fleeting experiences.

She said: ‘The exhibition is a collection of paintings which stem from a memory of a place. I use the memory as a starting pointwhich I build upon to recreate a landscape or setting.

‘Each piece originates from a different place and time period in my life. The paintings present my version of a certain time and place – a recollection of the way I saw and experienced my environment.’

Timoney studied painting and graphic design at Edinburgh College of Art and at L’École Superieure Des Arts Decoratifs in Strasbourg, France. She is the recipient of the 2017 Edinburgh Visual Artists Award, the Edinburgh University Barnson Bequest Award, and has exhibited at Whitechapel Gallery in London, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and The Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh.

In 2016 and 2017 Timoney was Artist in Residence at Edinburgh College of Art, and is currently Artist in Residence at George Watson’s College.

Both exhibitions will run until 25 May at the FAS Edinburgh, 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh.